Russia. Sexual violence by strangers - Labirint
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Russia. Sexual violence by strangers

    Russia. Sexual violence by strangers

    We have collected instructions, recommendations and contacts, which can help you in the chosen country and situation.

    Introduction

    Today, many people fleeing the war in Ukraine are ending up in Russia. For some of them, this is the closest destination available; others are evacuated by force. 

    There are several organizations  dedicated to assisting forcibly displaced people:

    “Helping to Leave” (Russian: «Помогаем уехать», Pomogayem Uyekhat). This project works with Ukrainians affected by the war, including those forcibly deported to the temporarily occupied Ukrainian territories or to Russia. It provides informational, financial, and psychological assistance, and also facilitates evacuation from unsafe areas.

    The Civic Assistance Committee (Russian: Комитет «Гражданское содействие», Komitet Grazhdanskoye Sodeystviye). This project is dedicated to helping migrants and refugees as well as protecting their rights across the country. The Civic Assistance Committee provides legal, medical, psychological, and humanitarian assistance.

    If you are a survivor of a crime committed by the Russian military, you can contact a coalition of Ukrainian human rights organizations. It collects accounts of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during Russia’s military action in Ukraine. They will document your case and keep a record.

    Below is an instruction that will help you handle an emergency situation while in Russia:

    01. Call the Police

    — What should I do if I am in danger and need emergency help?

    Dial 112  to reach both the police and ambulance services. All calls to this number are recorded. This may turn out to be quite important in the future.

    You can also dial 102, which is used only for police-specific calls. In this case, your call might not get recorded.

    A rape survivor can choose to file a report after a while; the police will still have to respond to it. In this case, however, it will be impossible to analyze biological evidence. Law enforcement officials in Russia tend to be very reluctant to investigate such cases because of difficulties in gathering sufficient evidence and because of various myths and stereotypes surrounding sexual violence.

    Do I need any documents to call the police?

    No, you don’t. Any person can call the police, regardless of whether they have documents or not.

    Is it safe to call the police if I have a problem with my immigration documents (e.g., the period of permitted stay has expired)?

    If your period of stay has expired and you are staying in the country illegally, you could face some problems. If there are problems with your immigration status and the domestic violence situation does not pose an immediate risk to your life, it is safer to contact organizations helping survivors of violence (listed below), as well as organizations working with migrants and refugees (for example, the Civic Assistance Committee).

    — What to say to the Police?

    Don’t hesitate to explain what happened in detail. Try to explain as accurately as possible where it happened and what the attacker looked like.

    It is best to go to law enforcement together with an attorney, a lawyer, or a partner/relative/friend who can support you.

    After you report a crime, take a receipt confirming that your report has been received. You should also ask to be referred for a medical examination. Read through the documents carefully before signing them. If there are any inaccuracies, ask to correct them.

    Your clothes, underwear and personal belongings may be taken as evidence. If you go to the police, make sure you take them with you (in a paper bag, not in a plastic bag) and ask them to collect it for examination.

    If the crime happened a while ago, you can still go to the police — they must accept your report. However, in this case, it will be impossible to analyze biological evidence. Law enforcement officials in Russia tend to be very reluctant to investigate such cases because of difficulties in gathering sufficient evidence and because of various myths and stereotypes surrounding sexual violence.

    — Legislation punishing a rapist?

    Russia’s Criminal Code establishes liability for rape (Article 131), violent acts of a sexual nature (Article 132), sexual coercion (Article 133), and crimes against the sexual inviolability and personal freedom of minors.

    02. Get medical help

    What you should keep in mind?

    It is important for a rape survivor to have a timely forensic medical examination. This is not the same as a call for emergency ambulance assistance or treatment in an emergency department. The forensic medical examination is a separate procedure carried out at a special medical examiner’s office. Don’t take shower until you have a forensic exam — this could eliminate the attacker’s biological material. Forensic medical examinations are conducted at the request of the police.

    If you are examined by a physician and not an expert, make sure they describe your assessment in detail in the medical record (including all injuries) and collect biological evidence of the assault.

    If possible, contact either the investigation committee or the police immediately after the crime (you can call the police by phone).

    How to prevent STDs and pregnancy after being raped?

    Within 72 hours after the incident (or better within the first 4 hours), you should seek HIV prevention post-sexual assault care at an AIDS prevention and control center. Get tested for HIV within 4-6 months after the incident — if the prevention strategy does not work, you will learn about it in time, and the treatment will be more effective. Another step is to see a gynecologist and be tested for STDs. If your test result comes back positive, a treatment will be prescribed.

    You should also get an emergency contraceptive pill that may be available in a pharmacy. Emergency morning after pill contraception is used after unprotected sexual intercourse — within 1 to 3 days, but the sooner you take it, the better. Read the instructions carefully before taking the pill.

    03. Get in touch with local nonprofit organizations

    Where to seek legal advice and assistance?

    National (all-Russian) helpline for women survivors of violence: 8-800-700-06-00.

    «No to Violence» is a project providing legal and psychological assistance in Moscow. It also offers information support to women affected by domestic abuse.

    This “No to Violence” map collected verified non-profit organizations that work with survivors of violence.

    The Consortium of Women’s Nongovernmental Associations is an organization providing legal assistance to domestic abuse survivors across the country.

    “Axiom” (Russian: «Аксиома», Aksioma) is a human rights project offering legal support to survivors of domestic and sexual violence, police brutality, and labor exploitation. Find a lawyer via this Telegram bot.

    «Alternativa» Counseling Center with the support of the Crisis Center for Women INGO (Institute for Non-Discriminatory Gender Relations). The center’s individual and group counseling helps people who are prone to various types of aggressive and violent behavior in close relationships and who want to improve their future and the future of the people they love.

    04. Useful apps

    Сервис «P.O.L.I.N.A.»

    It is (Russian: Сервис «П.О.Л.И.Н.А») a system that sends automated reports to law enforcement and magistrates’ courts on behalf of survivors of violence.

    Here you can find emergency action plans for different violence-related situations (physical abuse, stalking, sexual violence, death threats, non-payment of alimony, annulment of marriage, child custody battles, etc.).

    There’s also a function that allows you to make a complaint if you’ve suffered from one of the main types of violence. The complaint can be sent to a lawyer for review. For instance, this service helps file a proper complaint against an abuser for beating. The online reporting form contains the key questions and circumstances that should be put in the complaint (for instance, the location and time of the incident, the names of witnesses and their contacts, the nature of injuries sustained).

    “No To Violence” mobile app

    A mobile app with an alarm button for survivors of domestic violence. At the click, the app will send an SMS with your coordinates to your emergency contacts.

    Use this app to find nearby crisis centers and get instructions on what to do if you have experienced violence.

    App Store.

    Google Play.

    Did our instructions help?

    When compiling the instructions, we relied on the help of volunteers and lawyers from different countries. If something went wrong – the organization didn’t respond to you, you found a bug or the instructions weren’t precise enough – tell us about it. Email us at: help@labirint.online

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